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Visas and border crossings forum

Thailand immigration officer cock-up

Posted by lodge on 2/7/2009 at 20:06

When I crossed into Thailand from Laos into Nong Khai , I was given a 30 day visa stamp by the border official. According to my passport, this meant I had to be out of the country by the 1st July.

On the 1st of July I went to Phuket immigration office and applied for a one week extention. The officer looked at my passport, stared at the visa stamp, got his collegues over and made some phone calls.

Gist of it was; the officer at the Laos border had cocked up and given me the wrong stamp, as it was an overland crossing so I should have only had 15 days.

However, the officials refused to make any phone calls or any help whatsoever. The only advice I got was 'go to Nong Khai and sort it out'. For anyone who doesnt know, Nong Khai and Phuket are thousands of miles apart on opposite sides of the country.

Some Australian workers at the office told me the situation was ridiculous that I was being blamed, but there was nothing they could do about it. If I got to the Laos border as quickly as possible and sorted it out in Nong Khai, apparently would mean I wouldnt have to pay the two week overstay I apparently owed ($200 US). However, my situation meant I was technically an illigal immigrant and there was a high chance I would get my passport checked at least once before I got to the border, risking probable arrest. The Australian officer's best advice was 'fly out the country as quickly as possible'.

I booked a flight to Singapore in the evening, naivly hoping for the slight chance passport control would only see the stamp saying '1st July' and not inquire further. Didnt happen.

I got hauled into an office, where an airport immigration official told me the visa was wrong and I would have to pay the two weeks overstay. I tried to point out that it was his collegue in Nong Khai's fault for messing up my visa, not mine, but he wasnt hearing any of it, so I said a tearful goodbye with 7,500 baht.

Got to Singapore at midnight and bummed around the city until 7am when I flew back to Phuket to get a 30 days visa so I could meet my friends and retrieve all my belongings.

Just thought I'd post this out there as a warning in case anyone else gets the wrong stamp.

#1 lodge has been a member since 17/2/2009. Posts: 17

Posted by somtam2000 on 2/7/2009 at 21:33 admin

hmmm interesting -- and unfortunate -- and expensive!

I just want to make sure I'm reading what you're saying correctly:

1) You entered overland at Nong Khai
2) You were granted visa free stay for 30 days
2a) This means you would have received a rectangular stamp in your passport with the border crossing at the top, followed by your entry date (which was June3?), on the next line the stamp reads "Until" and there is a damp state and that read "01 Jul 2009"?

I don't mean to be pedantic, but I just want to make sure that that is what you got in your passport when you entered at Nong Khai.

Assuming the above is the case, then I'd say this is definitely their mistake and I'm wondering if it wouldn't be worth your while to contact the TAT to chase it up.

If you could confirm the above re the stamp, I'll look into finding a contact for you.

Cheers

#2 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,710
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Posted by neosho on 3/7/2009 at 02:11

I have heard from other expats that have retirement visas that when you come back across the border to make sure they have stamped you right. If you walk away and discover something wrong later then it is a hassle to get straightened out. Hasn't happened to me yet but that is just what I've heard in conversations.

#3 neosho has been a member since 13/8/2008. Posts: 386

Posted by somtam2000 on 3/7/2009 at 06:55 admin

I asked around some friends and got the following:
"I can quite believe they gave the guy the wrong stamp - it's happened to me before, getting a one month rather than a 3 month stamp -- luckily I checked the passport before I left the desk so got it corrected. That would be golden advice for anyone going thru immigration anywhere - check what goes into your passport before you leave the official! The only thing that is odd is that surely no-one at all gets a 30 day stamp at Nong Khai now - ie that stamper thing wouldn't even be on the officer's desk as no call to use it."

Sound advice.

#4 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,710
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Posted by lodge on 3/7/2009 at 19:20

hmmm yeah good point!

yeah just to confirm the above; the Nong Khai stamp in my passport had my entry date of June 2nd and the 'until' date was July 1st.

#5 lodge has been a member since 17/2/2009. Posts: 17


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